Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Smartphone Apps Don't Make Smart Babies

early childhood development and education
Future engineer!

Dr. Patricia Kuhl, co-director of The Institute of Learning and Brain Sciences, at the University of Washington in Seattle speaks in the following dynamic Ted Talk. 

The direct irrefutable evidence, against the use of videos of any kind, is addressed at 7:15 of her talk. Dr. Kuhl is a "tour de force" with today's modern research of the magic of human brain development beginning at birth.

The advocacy group, The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, denounced the claim that mobile apps help babies learn, and I agree wholeheartedly. It is another case of false advertising, where developers of such products are marketing to parents the notion that apps are educational, rather than simply entertaining. In my opinion, any video related viewing can be quite detrimental to a babies developing psyche.

I feel compelled to show this (ten minute) presentation again. I first linked it at the end of my July 24th post, The Importance of Language. If you haven't watched it yet, now's your chance (I'm going to end this post shortly just so you watch)!

The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages any electronic "screen time" for infants and toddlers under the age of two, and warns that no studies have documented a benefit of early viewing.

The New York Times (click here) ran an article about the advocacy group's official complaint to the U.S. government over false advertising. Many responders say apps are fun and harmless. These type of shallow remarks make clear the need for early childhood development and education advocate's like Dr. Kuhl and Susan Linn.

Susan Linn, the group's director sums up the reality very well:

"Everything we know about brain research and child development points away from using screens to educate babies. The research shows that machines and screen media are a really ineffective way of teaching a baby language. What babies need for healthy brain development is active play, hands-on creative play and face-to-face interaction". 

Thanks, Papa Green Bean